Sunday, June 10, 2012

Buffing Up Retiro Park

    Retiro Park is a vast, gorgeous park filled with greenery and culture.  You can row a boat around the pond, sleep in the shade, take a walk, or ponder how the spray painted guy is floating in midair.  However, something that Retiro Park does not do is promote exercise like parks around the United States do.  Sure you can walk, jog, roller blade, or bike around the park, but the park doesn’t promote any form of really strenuous exercise.  In the U.S., almost every large park has basketball courts, tennis courts, or a soccer field.  In addition, a lot of parks have pull up bars and places to do sit ups and crunches.  If a person doesn’t feel like spending the money to join a gym, all they need to do is head over to the local park to get the exercise they need to stay fit and healthy.  After seeing Retiro Park, I really started to wonder how there were no fat people in Spain.  It seems like there should be.  People spend half their day sitting at bars and cafes, and you don’t see many people going to the gym.  I believe the reason few Spaniards are fat is because they flat out don’t eat as much as Americans do.  They have a coffee for breakfast, drinks and a few small tapas for dinner, and a moderate sized lunch some days.  In all, Spaniards probably eat half as much as the average American does.  Some people might think this is a good thing, but I think Spaniards can live healthier lives with a more balanced diet and more exercise, and Retiro Park could help promote this different type of lifestyle.  Retiro has big open green spaces, and one could be used for a nice looking soccer field with goals.  Instead of just kicking the ball around, people would actually play games, which is a much more physical activity.  A cool skatepark could be installed in Retiro, which would both promote exercise for younger Spaniards and keep them out of areas such as the Palace.  Also, there are a lot of snack places in Retiro with unhealthy snacks, and some could be replaced with fruit stands to promote better health.  Walking around, anyone can see Retiro is a great park, but these improvements would be both easy to do and be beneficial to the community.          

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